A Kenilworth Second World War veteran has shared poignant memories of his service in the RAF at the tenth anniversary of a memorial ceremony.
Russell ‘Rusty’ Waughman, who was a Lancaster pilot, attended the Bomber Command Memorial in London last month.
The service is held annually by the memorial’s custodian, the RAF Benevolent Fund, The RAF’s leading welfare charity, to mark the unveiling of the Memorial, which was first revealed by Her Majesty The Queen in 2012.
At the event, Rusty spoke movingly about his experiences, the after-effects of his service and his reflections on the importance of remembrance – as well as his support for the RAF Benevolent Fund.
He said: “At the time – when I was 20 years old – it was a bit of an ego trip, but as I grew up, I learnt what was going on and what I actually did.
"The unfortunate thing is you remember you bombed Berlin and you bombed all the big cities, and you suddenly realise – how many people have I killed?
"This came to me very seriously after the war.
“In 1991, when they were rebuilding Berlin as the new capital from Bonn, I said to a lady, ‘they’re not doing much to mend that church,’ and she said ‘no, that’s going to be kept as a memorial to the 260 children who were killed when we were bombed’.
"And I suddenly realised, I could’ve done that.
"That was when it started to come back and you realise what you did.
"But, at the time you had no consciousness about it at all, you’re just doing a job.”
He added: “The Bomber Command Memorial means an awful lot.
"It should have been done years ago, of course politics came into it, but it really was a remarkable effort to get the funding and get the money to do it.
"The RAF Benevolent Fund and those who organised it did a wonderful thing.
"The expression on those faces on the memorial really means something. When you look at it, it takes you back all those years.”
To rewatch the Bomber Command Memorial service visit https://bit.ly/3z6qGHk